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June 28, 2016

Phish fans give $1,500 to South Philly school's music program

The Mockingbird Foundation spreads a love of music wherever the jam band goes

If you’re anything like me, every time a Phish show takes over the social media airwaves, you long for the days of taking pot while listening to the soothing riffs of a live jam band. It’s folly to write off Phish fans as a cultish crew beholden to hacky-sack prowess and grilled-cheese parking-lot profiteering, though.

Hold up. What? Oh, sorry, that lede's kinda trippy. Let's start over. 

Today in supporting music education news: In advance of the Phish shows at the Mann tonight and Wednesday, The Mockingbird Foundation — an “all-volunteer nonprofit created and run by the fans of the band Phish" — announced it was giving an unsolicited $1,500 grant to the Andrew Jackson School music program’s effort to build a new rehearsal and performance space.

As you may recall, Jackson is the pre-K through 8th grade South Philly school where then mayoral candidate Jim Kenney dressed up like the Cat in the Hat and read “Green Eggs and Ham” to kindergartners. What you might not know — despite an ample amount of coverage in local media — is that the school has a rock band named “Home.” 

Here’s a 2012 NBC10 segment about the program:


And here's a short documentary about Home’s trip to Washington, D.C. to perform at the American Federation of Teachers convention:


Sure seems as if Home is a worthy grant recipient, does it not? 

In any event, Jackson was not alone. It was among 15 grant Mockingbird Foundation recipients for monies disbursed during the current Phish tour. 

With $22,500 in new grants, the foundation topped $1 million over more than 300 disbursements.

“They are an effort by the Phish fan community to spread the love of music in locales in which Phish performs,” explained the foundation's executive director Ellis Godard.

That is a noble mission as music makes the world a better place. Good on you, Phish fans. Enjoy the shows.